Social media now plays a bigger part in our lives than ever. With smartphones in our pockets and even on our wrists, it’s now an unescapable way to spend a few spare minutes here and there. Or to get completely lost in an undesired extended scroll. With that said, let’s beat the dull scroll and make social media time useful language learning time (tah dah!). We’ve already discussed Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook. In this post, I’m talking about using Pinterest for language learning.
Although Pinterest is often considered more of a search engine than a social media platform, which is true, it’s still a valuable tool in your language learning social media arsenal.
My Pinterest account has become a valuable source for grammar tips, vocabulary, visually pleasing infographics, and teaching ideas (as well as personal ‘secret’ boards for recipes that will never look as good as the photo and incredibly Photoshopped images of amazing places to travel to). Although, if you make any kind of cake in a mug it will taste like a gift from the Gods.
I’ve even made a couple of things for Lindsay Does Languages in the past with Pinterest in mind. The most popular has definitely been this one.
But how do I locate these things when I need them? And how do I even find them in the first place?
We’ll get to that in just a moment, but first, here’s a little jargon-busting if you’re completely new to Pinterest.
As a noun, a Pin refers to anything that you can add to a Pinterest board.
As a verb, it probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that it’s the action of adding things to Pinterest boards.
This is where you add Pins. You can have an unlimited number of boards on Pinterest so they can either be very specific (Spanish preterite regular verb examples) or very vague (Spanish). You choose.
It’s also worth noting that they can be public or private (secret).
Searching + Collecting
With Pinterest being a haven for unachievable recipes and wanderlust, typing ‘French’ alone into the search bar may not show the desired results if you’re after some pretty verb tables. Expect French toast and the Eiffel Tower.
Unfortunately, Pinterest wasn’t made with us language folk in mind so you may need to be more specific.
‘French grammar’ could bring up better results, and then, to be more specific, ‘French grammar verbs’, even better. What’s more, Pinterest has recently improved to suggest common combinations. So if you do just type in ‘French’, ‘language’ may well be a suggested addition below.
Why not try searching these terms in the target language? For example, ‘la langue français’ instead of ‘French language’. Or search other stuff you’d also want to find on Pinterest such as hair or make up tutorials in the target language? The possibilities are endless.
Once you’ve found these useful Pins, pin them to your Pinterest boards to save them for later.
Even before you pin something to a board, you’ll see plenty of related posts when you scroll down the page. Clicking through and pinning this content can be a great way to find relevant content quickly and easily. One thing I’d recommend is setting yourself a timer to avoid spending your entire day just clicking and pinning and clicking and pinning.
If you don’t have any time to devote to keeping track of your own language resource collection on Pinterest, the Pinterest Save Button Chrome Extension allows you to pin content directly from any website, as does the ‘Pin it’ button you see on some websites hovering over images or by articles.
After having a little play with searching on Pinterest and across the web, you’ll want to think about how to organise what you collect.
Depending on what you’re after, you can be as broad or narrow with your boards as you wish. You could have a board for each verb tense or quite simply one board titled ‘languages’. Completely up to you!
Firstly, let’s back track a little. It’s worth pointing out that Pinterest boards can be public or secret. So if you don’t want what you’re collecting on Pinterest to be out there on the internet for all to see, know that secret boards exist.
Group boards are a great way to share what you learn with others and also to learn from them too. They can also be a great way to connect with new people on Pinterest.
Use PinGroupie to find group boards sharing content in or about the language you’re learning. It’s worth noting though that at the time of writing, PinGroupie hadn’t been updated in 7 months.
Of course, once you find these groups, there’s certainly no pressure to join them. You can just take a look, follow the board and pin the most interesting content.
As well as following relevant group boards, you can also follow other Pinners (or just their relevant boards) to fill your feed with interesting content you might like to pin to your own boards. The more you follow, the easier Pinterest becomes to find relevant content. Woop!
Pinterest isn’t as useful as other social media tools for producing and sharing your own examples of the language, but it does have a few possibilities worth mentioning here.
How you use what you end up with on your Pinterest page is completely up to you!
You can print stuff, email it to yourself, copy it out, or just save it on Pinterest. Personally, I love having things there as reference. I also like to use Pinterest as a first stop when I start looking at a new language because it often gives a different approach to books and other more traditional resources.
If you’re practising languages across multiple websites, you can use Pinterest to keep track of them all in one place. Just use that Pin It Chrome extension we mentioned earlier to add things to one board.
For example, if you’re sharing your language goals each month as part of Clear The List, you can add these posts to a Pinterest board to track your progress. And remember, this board can be secret if you’d prefer.
You can also use IFTTT to automate this process. This tool connects different platforms – for example, when you upload to Instagram with a particular hashtag, that post will be added to your Pinterest board automatically. Woop!
Allow time regularly to focus on one or two pins
It may seem that Pinterest is all about collecting and nothing more. Well, that’s why it’s equally important to schedule in some time to actually focus on one or two Pins each week or month to make sure that you actually learn something from them.
Try adding “Review 3 Pins” or something similar into your regular language routine to be sure this happens.
Join Social Media Success
If you want to use social media for language learning more effectively, I have an online course you’re going to love.
Social Media Success is a 4-week course complete with tech training videos, a digital workbook, and a Slack Community to help you maximise your time on social media for language learning.
To read more and enroll, click right here, amigo.
Do you use Pinterest? How do you make it work for your language learning? Share your ideas in the comments! Oh, and don’t forget to follow Lindsay Does Languages on Pinterest.